Tobacco killed 6 million and is now the top cause of death in China: Is smoking a sin?

(Photo by Geierunited)


Tobacco is killing more people as cigarette production rises:

21 March 2012: Bloomberg

Tobacco use killed almost 6 million people last year and was the top cause of death in China, the world’s biggest cigarette market, the American Cancer Society and World Lung Foundation reported.

Four of every five deaths were in low- and middle-income countries, and 1 billion people may die from tobacco use and exposure this century if current trends continue, according to the report, released in Singapore today.

Tobacco-related deaths almost tripled in the past decade amid a 17 percent jump in cigarette production and increased affordability of the cancer-causing products in low-income nations.

Smoking is dangerous and hurts the smoker and those around the smoker.  Can or should smokers quit?

Here is information about his own smoking and views on it by the late Hebert W. Armstrong from his Autobiography:

In order to keep up with the job, due to inadaptability and resultant slowness, it became necessary to work nights. I established a system. I worked alternately one night until ten, the next until midnight, rising at 5:30 every morning. Time had to be taken out to walk the one or two miles from my room to the mill, and also to walk over to the boarding house where I took meals. I kept awake on the job nights by smoking a pipe — my first habitual smoking. In just six months this overwork and loss of sleep exacted its toll, and I was sent to the hospital with a very severe case of typhoid fever…

I had taken up pipe smoking during those long and frantic night hours at Wiggins, Mississippi, as an aid to staying awake while I worked over the books. I had smoked, moderately, ever since. However, I will say that I was never a heavy smoker. Never more than one cigar a day, or three or four cigarettes in a day. That’s the reason I did not have the battle many men have had in breaking the habit, when I saw that it had to be broken…

{Later} I was baptized, the matter of smoking had to be settled. Of course the Quaker church, in which I had been reared as a boy, taught that smoking was a sin. But I had been unhappily disillusioned to see that in so many basic points the Bible teaching is the very opposite of what I had absorbed in Sunday school. “I’ve got to see the answer to the tobacco question IN THE BIBLE!” I said to myself. Until I found the answer in the Bible, I decided I would continue as before — smoking mildly. I had continued to smoke lightly, averaging three or four cigarettes a day, or one cigar a day. I had never been a heavy smoker.

Now I had to face the question: Is smoking a SIN? I wanted the BIBLE answer, for I had learned by this time that Christ had said we must live by EVERY WORD OF GOD. The BIBLE is our Instruction Book on right living. We must find a BIBLE reason for everything we do. I knew, of course, there is no specific command, “Thou shalt not smoke.” But the absence of a detailed prohibition did not mean God’s approval. I had learned that GOD’S LAW is His WAY OF LIFE. It is a basic philosophy of life.

The whole Law is summed up in the one word LOVE.

I knew that love is the opposite of lust. Lust is self-desire — pleasing the self only. Love means loving others. Its direction is not inward toward self alone, but outgoing, toward others. I knew the Bible teaches that “lust of the flesh” is the way of SIN.

So now I began to apply the principle of God’s Law. I asked myself, “WHY do I smoke?” To please others — to help others — to serve or minister to or express love toward others — or only to satisfy and gratify a desire of the flesh within my own self? The answer was instantaneously obvious. I had to be honest with it. My only reason for smoking was LUST OF THE FLESH, and lust of the flesh is, according to the BIBLE, sin! I stopped smoking immediately.

This beginning of overcoming was not too difficult, for it had not been a “big habit” with me. Once weaned, I was able to see it as it is — a dirty, filthy habit. And today we know it is a serious and major contributing cause of lung cancer! God designed and created the human body. He designed the LUNGS to take in FRESH AIR to fire and oxidize the blood, and at the same time to filter out of the blood the impurities and waste matter the blood has picked up throughout the body. Befouled smoke, containing the poisons of nicotine and tars, reduces the efficiency of the operation of this vital organ.

The physical human body is, God says, the very TEMPLE of His Holy Spirit. If we defile this TEMPLE — this physical body — God says He will destroy us! God intended us, if we are to be COMPLETE, to live happy, healthy and abundant lives, and to gain eternal life, to take in HIS SPIRIT — not poisonous foreign substances like tobacco.

Hebert W. Armstrong  died on January 16, 1986, at age 93 1/2.   His reasons for quitting smoking make biblical sense to me.  People should not smoke.  It harms them and others around them.

When he was alive he visited many nations around the world including many in Asia, including China, India, and Japan.  More in Asia, and elsewhere, should take his comments about not smoking seriously enough to change.

(Those interested in learning more about Herbert W. Armstrong, should read the article Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today?)

Notice some of what the Bible teaches:

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

37…”‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  38 This is the first and great commandment.  39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  (Matthew 22:37-40)

Consider that smoking does not glorify God in your body–it harms your body.  Consider that smoking also does not show love towards one’s neighbor–it harms your neighbor.  Smoking is a sin against the body, and sometimes more than that.

Notice also the following commentary:

The curse of tobacco

Carl Ponder
It was just after my ordination into the ministry that it came to my attention that George (not his real name) was secretly smoking.

A Church member for several years, George knew that Christians should not do anything which will ultimately cripple or kill us, since we – our bodies – are the temple of God’s Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). He had already lost a lung to cancer many years before and of all people he should have known better than to continue smoking.

After much thought and research I decided that the first thing to do was to prepare a sermon attacking the evils of smoking. There might be others in the congregation with the same problem.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided reams of facts about smoking; how addictive it is; how it slowly paralyzes the tiny cilia in the bronchial tubes and changes the cells of the lungs and trachea. These changes, in many cases, ultimately lead to deadly emphysema and, even worse, cancer of the trachea and lungs.

CDC information showed how even exposing children to second-hand smoke will paralyze the tiny cilia in the eustachian tubes leading from the inner ears to the throat, causing a build-up of mucus and bacteria which lead to infections and horribly painful ear aches in young children. Many parents have submitted their children to painful ear operations, not realizing that their own uncontrolled lust for tobacco has been the cause of the problem.

The American Cancer Society was also very helpful, providing facts and suggestions on how to go about quitting.

In that sermon I went on to point out that God will hold the tobacco industry responsible for knowingly selling and enticing people to use an addictive poison –nicotine. Finally I urged any in the congregation who might have a tobacco habit to call on God for help to overcome that awful addiction.

After the service George didn’t mention his addiction. I noticed that he was coughing a little more than usual – emphysema, he thought – but he was still his normal friendly self. Two days later George came home and fell dead on the living room floor in front of his wife.

Since he died at home, state law required that an autopsy be performed. It turned out that he had lung, tracheal and liver cancers, and had not even known it.

George’s was the first funeral I had to conduct after being ordained. I would like to have seen his family seek compensation from the tobacco companies for having knowingly helped to cause this terrible death, but they had no money for such things, and probably would not have received justice even if they had gone to court. Ultimately the majority of the blame rests on George.

George’s story is just one of millions related to the smoking, chewing or sniffing of tobacco. Debilitating lung disease, loss of body parts due to smoking-caused cancers and ultimately, death, is an ever-growing medical nightmare. If you are using tobacco in any form, please do whatever it takes to stop – NOW! You owe it to your loved ones, yourself and God to stop…

For information on how to quit smoking, the web site for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society’s web site is: American Cancer Society’s, and resources for tobacco addiction: Online Nursing Programs site.

Please don’t die like George.

Smoking is wrong and it kills people.  God wants people to change/repent (Acts 17:30)–which means that, despite its difficulties it can be done (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13).  The sooner one starts the better one will be.

Several articles of possibly related interest include:

Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today? Includes quotes from the 1973 edition of The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong and explains how he is and should be viewed today.
Japan, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Any Witness? Where did the Japanese people come from? Have they had any witness?
Japan, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: Prophecy Japan in prophecy. What is prophesied for Japan? Will God save the Japanese?
India, Its Biblical Past and Future: Any Witness? The Bible discusses the origins of those of Indian heritage and discusses some of the witness to them (including those in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka).
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Genesis and Chinese Characters Where did the Chinese people come from? This article provides information showing that the Chinese peoples must have known about various accounts in the Book of Genesis up until their dispersion after the Tower of Babel.
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: The Sabbath and Some of God’s Witness in China When did Christianity first come to China? And is there early evidence that they observed the seventh day sabbath?
Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for Asia? Who are the “Kings of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese, Russians, Indians, and others of Asia? China in prophecy, where? Who has the 200,000,000 man army related to Armageddon?

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